This Comment examines research on the human genome and explores the existence of a duty to disclose genetic test results in clinical and research settings. Part II begins with a hypothetical describing how such a duty to disclose can arise. Part III (A-C) describes advances in the sequencing of the human genome, the development of reliable tests for genetic disorders, and issues regarding access and control of genetic test samples and results. Part III (D) looks at the tort law basis for a general duty of physicians to disclose medical information, the specific duty of clinical physicians to disclose the presence of genetic disease, and the specific duty of the nonphysician medical researcher to disclose genetic test results. Part III (E) explores justification based on a tort-contract hybrid for an expectation interest, on the part of a research subject and a third party, in the disclosure of genetic test results, as defined by informed consent. Part III (F) examines a tort-contract-property hybrid basis for invoking an affirmative duty to disclose genetic test results that combines a negligence standard of tort law with a tort-contract based duty of informed consent to form an individual property interest in genetic information.
Richard L. Furman, Jr., Genetic Test Results and the Duty to Disclose: Can Medical Researchers Control Liability?, 23 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 391 (1999).